Farm to Fork: EU increases the availability of biological pesticides

Today, as part of the EU’s transition to sustainable food systems and the work to reduce the use of chemical pesticides under the Farm to Fork Strategy, the EU has taken another important step to ensure access to biological plant protection products for use in fields across Member States. Member States have approved new rules to facilitate the approval of micro-organisms for use as active substances in plant protection products. These new rules will provide the EU’s farmers with additional options to substitute chemical plant protection products. Commissioner in charge on Health and Food safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “Today, we are bringing good news to European farmers to help their transition away from the use of chemical pesticides. Biological products can protect their crops with less risk to human health or the environment. Food systems are key drivers of climate change and environmental degradation, and we need to bring this transition urgently. Under the Farm to Fork Strategy, we have committed to reduce by 50% the use of chemical pesticides by 2030 and to do so, it is crucial that we provide alternatives that respect our planet and our health. The EU has among the highest environmental requirements and a leading role when it comes to sustainability of its food system – today’s announcement is further tangible and concrete proof of this.” Once the new rules apply, expected by November (see timeline), the approval of micro-organisms and the authorisation of biological plant protection products containing them will be significantly faster. This will ensure that new biological solutions that can replace chemicals are put on the market faster. The new rules will notably put the biological and ecological properties of each micro-organisms at the centre of the scientific risk assessment, which needs to demonstrate safety before the micro-organisms can be approved as active substances in plant protection products. More information is available in our Q&A.